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What does TCA mean on a drug test?

TCA is an acronym that stands for “Tricyclic Antidepressants”. TCA testing is used when a company, healthcare provider, or other organization is interested in determining if an individual has tricyclic antidepressants in their system. When the term TCA is present on a drug test kit, it means that particular kit is able to detect the presence of TCA drugs in the body.

Below is a list of tricyclic antidepressants that are commonly tested for in a TCA screen:

  • Desipramine
  • Amoxapine
  • Nortriptyline
  • Imipramine
  • Amitriptyline
  • Doxepin
  • Trimipramine
  • Maprotiline

Because tricyclic antidepressants can interact unfavorably with other types of drugs, including over-the-counter medications, street drugs, and some forms of herbal supplements, knowing when a TCA drug is present in the system is crucial in order for healthcare providers to optimally treat a patient’s condition.


Additionally, TCA drugs do come with a potential for abuse and/or misuse. This is often because individuals who suffer with mental health disorders, including depression, mood disorders, and anxiety, are at an increased risk of experiencing comorbid substance abuse issues. A person experiencing mental health problems may increase their intake of TCAs without consulting with a physician, or take them inappropriately as a means of counteracting the negative effects of other drugs.

How accurate are TCA drug tests?

At Countrywide Testing, all of our TCA drug screen products come with a 99% accuracy rating— making them the most precise and dependable TCA drug tests on the market today.

Of course, the accuracy of the reading can be compromised if the TCA screen is not administered properly.

For best results, we recommend following these instructions carefully:

  • Always use first-morning urine, if possible, as this is when your urine is most concentrated, and thus is when it will provide the most conclusive results.
  • Always lay your sample on a flat, smooth surface.
  • Never handle or move the sample while the test is taking place.
  • Follow instructions carefully. Countrywide Testing TCA drug tests require the device to remain in the urine for 1-5 minutes. Devices that are left submerged for more than 10 minutes may produce inaccurate results.

If you suspect that your test results may be inaccurate, you may want to take a second test to confirm your results, or have your results verified by a professional healthcare provider.

How does a TCA drug test work?

Tricyclic antidepressants work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin and epinephrine back into the cells after these chemicals are released into the synapse. When these natural chemicals are blocked from their regular routes, they will begin circulating in the body instead.

At Countrywide Testing, our tests use immunoassays to detect the presence of excess TCA drugs in the body. Essentially, these tests mix specific antigens with the antibodies that are already present in the urine sample. If the urine sample contains TCA drugs, a chemical reaction will occur, indicating a positive result. If no TCA drugs are present, the chemical reaction will not take place, signifying a negative result.

Typically, tricyclic antidepressants remain in the body for 2-5 days after ingestion. However, this window can be prolonged if the medication is being abused or taken in higher-than-recommended amounts. Due to their relatively short lifespan in the human body, urine TCA drug screens are best at detecting recent use.  


Why trust Countrywide Testing?

We are proud to offer the most comprehensive selection of TCA testing products available on the internet today. Additionally, each of our products is FDA cleared, 510K approved and CLIA-waived, meaning they have been proven to meet the highest accuracy and safety standards. In fact, all of our TCA drug tests have a 99% accuracy rating.

Our laboratory is also one of only 27 SAMHSA certified labs permitted to process drug samples on behalf of the United States government, which means our customers gain access to the same testing services trusted by law enforcement. Plus, we are CLIA, CAP, and ISO certified, and hold a California Clinical License.

But we do much more than simply offer the highest-quality products. We also make every effort to provide our customers with an unrivaled level of customer service, ensuring we never miss an opportunity to provide a seamless, pleasing shopping experience from start to finish.

This is why we offer free shipping on all orders over $75.00, and back all of our products with a 100% money back guarantee.

Still have questions or concerns regarding our industry-leading TCA screening solutions? Contact us today. One of our knowledgeable customer service agents would be happy to assist you.